Wishing Well cluster

A while back I posted a photo of the Jewel Box star cluster, NGC 4755. I did this for two reasons.

First, I wanted to show you something you could reasonably expect to see using a small telescope in the suburbs (say, when you're in lockdown).

Second, I wanted to show how large a field of view you'd get. I used two popular focal lengths, 650mm and 900mm, and the two eyepieces commonly supplied with our scopes, 25mm and 10mm.

Then I said I'd post a few more of these clusters, hopefully to give you an idea of what you might be able to see with your own telescope.

This has the somewhat curious name of the "Wishing Well Cluster", properly known as NGC 3532. It's also known as the Pincushion Cluster. Here it is:

To find it, start from the Southern Cross and its pointers. This is high in the Southern sky in the early evening at this time of year (July). With your hand, measure the distance between the right hand pointer (Hadar) and the left hand Cross star (Mimosa). Now, using this length, start at the right hand Cross star (Imai) and go right, and about the same downward angle as you started. The map I've given here should help a bit. The cluster is in the purple box.

The Wishing Well is a large cluster, so it's best to use your 25mm eyepiece. To give you an idea of what to look for, I've shown rough field sizes below. Remember, the orientation of the photo might not be what you see, and a camera gets better colours than your eye will.

While you're there, see if you can spot the Carina Nebula. It's a bit further away from the Cross. You can see it in the map - it's the large pink blob in the bottom right. This is the second-brightest nebula visible from Earth, after the Great Nebula in Orion. You may not be able to see it, but if you've got a larger aperture - like a saxon 1309EQ2 or even better a 13065EQ2, you might be able to pick out some silvery fuzz there.

See what else you can find. There are several clusters nearby.

Clear skies, and stay warm!

Map image: Stellarium.